Synopsis[ edit ] The first-person narrator and protagonistProfessor Burris, is a university instructor of psychology, who is approached by two young men one a former student sometime in the late s.
Skinner Foundation Biographical Information B. Skinner was born on March 20, in Susquehanna, a small railroad town in the hills of Pennsylvania just below Binghamton, New York. His father was a rising young lawyer, his mother a housewife.
Much of his boyhood was spent building things — for example a cart with steering that worked backwards by mistake and a perpetual motion machine the latter did not work.
Other ventures were more successful. He and a friend built a cabin in the woods. For a door to door business selling elderberries, he designed a flotation system to separate ripe from green berries. In high school, Skinner took an English class taught by Miss Graves to whom he was later to dedicate his book, The Technology of Teaching.
Based on a remark by his father, he blurted out in class one day that Shakespeare had not written As You Like It, but rather Frances Bacon. Moving back home he wrote little.
Escaping to New York City for a few months working as a bookstore clerk, he happened upon books by Pavlov and Watson. He found them impressive and exciting and wanted to learn more. Still rebellious and impatient with what he considered unintelligent ideas, Skinner found a mentor equally caustic and hard-driving.
William Crozier was the chair of a new department of Physiology. The student was encouraged to experiment. After a dozen pieces of apparatus and some lucky accidents described in his A Case History in Scientific MethodSkinner invented the cumulative recorder, a mechanical device that recorded every response as an upward movement of a horizontally moving line.
The slope showed rate of responding. This recorder revealed the impact of the contingencies over responding. Skinner discovered that the rate with which the rat pressed the bar depended not on any preceding stimulus as Watson and Pavlov had insistedbut on what followed the bar presses.
This was new indeed. Unlike the reflexes that Pavlov had studied, this kind of behavior operated on the environment and was controlled by its effects. Skinner named it operant behavior. The process of arranging the contingencies of reinforcement responsible for producing this new kind of behavior he called operant conditioning.
Because of a fellowship, Skinner was able to spend his next five years investigating not only the effect of following consequences and the schedules on which they were delivered, but also how prior stimuli gained control over behavior-consequence relationships with which they were paired.
These studies eventually appeared in his first book, The Behavior of Organisms Project Pigeon Inthen 32 years old, Skinner married Yvonne Blue and the couple moved to Minnesota where Skinner had his first teaching job.
But that was to change with the war. In World War II was in full swing. Airplanes and bombs were common, but there were no missile guidance systems. Anxious to help, Skinner sought funding for a top secret project to train pigeons to guide bombs. Working intently, he trained pigeons to keep pecking a target that would guide a missile onto an enemy ship.
The pigeons pecked reliably, even when falling rapidly and working with warlike noise all around them.
While Project Pigeon was discontinued because of another top secret project unknown to Skinner — radarthe work was useful. Pigeons behave more rapidly than rats, allowing more rapid discoveries of the effect of new contingencies. It was no longer merely an experimental analysis.
It had given rise to a technology.In Walden Two, behavioral psychologist B. F. Skinner describes one of the most controversial fictional utopias of the twentieth century. During the s and 70s, this novel went on to inspire. Study Guide for Walden Two.
Walden Two study guide contains a biography of B. F.
Skinner, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary . Steve and Mary are both convinced that this is the life for them; they decide to stay at Walden Two. Rodge, too, is convinced, but Barbara is not; he grudgingly leaves Walden Two with her at the end of their visit.
Burris is torn, but decides to . See a complete list of the characters in Walden Two Further Study Test your knowledge of Walden Two with our quizzes and study questions, or go further with essays on the context and background and links to the best resources around the web. In Walden Two, B.F. Skinner makes a case for behaviorism and "social engineering" as the solution to many of the world's problems.
Frazier, a psychologist interested in the practical applications of psychology to real-world problems, creates a communal social experiment called Walden Two. Walden Two is cast mostly in the form of a dialogue—in the tradition of Plato’s Socratic dialogues—in which the renowned and controversial behavioral psychologist B.
F. Skinner presents his.